Resume Photo: Should you put your picture on your resume?
Debating whether you should include a resume photo? Learn what the pros and cons to determine if it’s the right move to make.
When trying to stand out from the crowd and catch a recruiter’s eye, you may find yourself wondering whether you should add your picture to your resume. After all, what could be a better way to visually represent your personal brand?
Although your intentions may be in the right place, most hiring professionals will actually advise against including a photo when building your resume.
While the decision is ultimately yours to make, you should consider the potential consequences of adding your photo before sending your resume to a potential employer.
Keep in mind, resume writing services like ours can help with crafting you an amazing new resume if you feel you need professional help.
5 Things to Consider Before Adding Your Picture to Your Resume
1. The Type of Role You’re Applying For
Some positions are arguably more creative than others, and you have more room to add a personal flair to your resume depending on the role you’re applying for. But as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to save your creativity for other aspects of your resume other than adding a photo.
Unless you’re hoping to work a job where your physical appearance will play a large role in your duties, including your headshot won’t help your chances of being hired.
In fact, adding a photo to your resume will take up valuable real estate that could have otherwise been used to showcase your best professional skills.
2. Where You’re Seeking Work
Depending on where you’re planning to work, adding a photo to your resume may help or hurt your chances of getting hired.
Resume best practices vary by country and some locations are stricter than others when confronted with an applicant’s photo on a resume.
Due to anti-discrimination laws, employers are extremely cautious when they encounter a resume with a person’s photo. Simply put, they’d rather be safe than sorry and protect the company from being accused of making hiring decisions based on race, age, gender, or other factors.
In general, you should steer clear from adding your photo to your resume especially if you’re applying to work in the following countries:
On the other hand, it may be more acceptable to include your photo if you’re seeking work in any of the below areas:
3. The Hiring Manager’s Time
The best hiring managers are focused on sifting through stacks of applications as efficiently as possible, and they’ve mastered the art of skipping over resumes that don’t meet their basic criteria faster than you think.
With most job postings bringing in several hundred applications, recruiters are quick to make basic “Yes” or “No” decisions on each resume in a matter of seconds.
More specifically, in a matter of about six seconds on average.
Your window of opportunity to catch a hiring manager’s eye is extremely narrow, and it’s best to use those six seconds as wisely as possible.Rather than wasting precious time on including your headshot, focus your efforts on including keywords from the job posting in your resume. The recruiter is likely already scanning for applications that best match the job posting, and including some direct matches is a great way to stand out for the right reasons.
4. The Photo You Want to Include
If you’re set on including your picture on your resume, take extra care in making sure you select the right one.
Although you may be tempted to include a picture that shows off your personality, remember that your resume is a professional document and your photo should reflect that, too.
Skip over more casual photos and opt for a professional headshot instead. If you choose to add a photo, think of your resume as a first impression with the hiring manager.
Put your best foot forward with the following professional photo dos:
- Use a photo that is in-focus and high-quality
- Choose a professional photo
- Dress in business casual clothing for the photo
- Make sure the background is clean and neutral
- Put effort into your appearance such as your hairstyle or makeup
- Select a photo where your face takes up at least 60% of the frame
Avoid choosing a photo for your resume if it meets any of the following don’t’s:
- The photo was shot in poor lighting
- The photo was taken at a strange angle
- You took the photo yourself in a “selfie” pose
- Unnatural filters or gradients were applied to the photo
- You look unfriendly, unenthused, or otherwise awkward in the photo
- Your appearance does not reflect what you’d likely wear to job if you were hired
If your photo meets all of the “dos” and none of the “don’ts’s”, it could help your chances of impressing a recruiter depending on the role you’re applying for.
5. Resume Best Practices
If you’re on the fence about whether you should include your photo on your resume, you likely already have enough reason to prove to yourself it may not be the best choice. And your hesitation towards including your photo isn’t just due to typical job application jitters.
Most experts will advise you against including a headshot on your resume for reasons we’ve discussed above and many more.
Confusing ATS (application tracking software), your social media presence, and other recruiting best practices are just a few of the many other reasons including your photo won’t do you any favors in the hiring process.
And simply put, industry professionals rarely recommend applicants add their photos even when you may not be completely convinced yourself.
When in doubt, stick with the resume best practices you know to be true, and you should be well on your way to landing a gig at your dream workplace.
Alternatives to Putting Your Photo on Your Resume
Once you’ve decided to forgo adding your headshot to your resume, you can begin focusing on other ways to make your personality shine through your application.
There are many recommended alternatives to adding your photo on your resume – you just need to put in the extra work to make the most of your efforts.
Consider the following alternatives to help you still get your personality across to employers in a visual way without compromising the value of your resume.
Utilize Your LinkedIn Effectively
While your resume represents your skills and work experience on paper, your LinkedIn profile is there to add visual depth to your professional history and capabilities.
Along with your headline, one of the first things a hiring manager will notice on your LinkedIn page is your profile photo. And unlike your resume, the professional networking site is the perfect place to include an awesome headshot.
Help give your working experience a personal touch with a professional headshot and cover photo that best represents you to further your chances of landing an interview.
Be sure to follow LinkedIn’s recommendations for choosing a headshot and you’ll be more likely to stand out from other applicants.
Once you’ve chosen the best headshot for your LinkedIn page, include a link to your profile on your resume so recruiters can easily find your profile and review your experience in greater detail.
Dress for Success
Your resume should do all the heavy lifting in terms of earning you an initial interview for a job.
And once you’ve been invited for an interview, you’ll want to put your best foot forward to leave a great impression on your potential employer.
Dress for success and prepare yourself for an in-person interview or a video interview accordingly. You’ll want to appear poised and professional in-person to show employers you’re prepared for a professional job and respect the time they’ve spent considering you for the role.
If you’re unsure of what to wear for an interview, consider wearing what you’d likely need to wear should you be hired for the job. But when in doubt, it’s always best to show up over-dressed rather than under-dressed.
The Short Answer: Don’t Include Your Picture on Your Resume
It can be overwhelming to know exactly how to best represent yourself on paper to a potential employer.
And although there are endless ways to write a unique resume, there are a few constants you can refer to when the water gets murky.
If you’re stuck considering whether adding a photo to your resume will help you land the job of your dreams, you can almost always bet leaving your photo off your resume won’t cost you the job.
In the best cases, adding your photo to your resume won’t sway a recruiter one way or the other, but in the worst cases, your creative decision can land your application in the reject pile.
When you’re in doubt, keep it simple – don’t include your picture on your resume, but focus making your resume the best it can be in other ways that show off your best skills instead.